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Inflating Palestinian Refugee Numbers?

Members of Congress are demanding to see a report that could change the entire Middle East political picture by answering one simple question: Has the attempt to produce a solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem been predicated on inflating the number of Palestinian refugees?  And in addition, has the answer been hidden to fuel a multi-billion dollar political agenda, one which gives the Palestinians the upper-hand in peace negotiations?

The report was compiled under the Obama administration in 2015 but was immediately classified. According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon published in January, that report is still being kept under wraps by the State Department. A Freedom of Information Actrequest, a lawsuit, and a letter from 51 members of Congress to Donald Trump have all tried to convince President Trump to declassify the report. U.S. lawmakers are demanding to see it due to the implications concerning the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The report is all of five pages long and its basis is simple. In normal parlance, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country and cannot return because of persecution, war or violence. When Israel declared itself a nation in 1948, an estimated 700,000 Arabs fled the newly-formed state. Approximately 750,000-850,000 Jews either fled or were expelled from Arab countries at around the same time, although they were absorbed into Israel.

When the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees, the definition of ‘refugee’ was expanded to include all patrilineal descendants of any Arab that had lived in Israel for at least two years prior to being displaced by Israel’s War of  Independence in 1948. As a result of this open-ended inherited refugee status, the number of Palestinian refugees has grown and UNRWA now claims there are an estimated 5.3 million registered patrilineal descendants of the original “Palestine refugees.”

According to the report in the Washington Free Beacon, the report hidden away by the State Department determines the number of Palestinian refugees who personally fled Israel as per the normal definition of the term ‘refugee,’ at around 20,000.

It has also been criticized for prolonging the UNRWA’s raison d’etre and swelling its pool of recipients. UNRWA is a big business. It is the United Nations’ largest agency. It is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and its recipients receive more than twice the per capita aid of any other refugees. The UNHCR formed in 1950, is the main organization through which the world’s other refugees are aided. The UNHCR has a specific mandate to aid its refugees to eliminate their refugee status by local integration in current country, resettlement in a third country or repatriation.

By remaining under the auspices of the UNRWA, the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is artificially prolonged. The Palestinian Authority insists on the right of return for all 5.3 million of UNRWA Palestinians as a precondition to negotiations. This would be demographic suicide for Israel, a country of 6.5 million Jews.

To prevent this, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu recently called for UNRWA to be abolished and for the Palestinian refugees to fall under the auspices of the UNHCR.

U.S. lawmakers are demanding to see the report because they have their own questions concerning UNRWA. The U.S. has given an estimated $4.8 billion to UNRWA since 1950.

Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX) told the Free Beacon that access to the report was necessary for Congress to provide oversight for American taxpayers.

“UNRWA lashes out against America and engages in antisemitic incitement. Hamas terrorists use UNRWA facilities to target Israeli civilians,” Cruz was reported as saying. “The American people deserve to see this reported State Department assessment, so Congress and the administration can have a transparent and productive debate about America’s role in the organization.”

“The American people deserve to see the numbers inside the State Department assessment,” Cruz  told Emily Benedek of Algemeiner last week, “so Congress and the Administration can have a transparent and productive debate about America’s role in the organization.”

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No Christians at all among 1,112 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK this year

In response to a Freedom of Information request from Barnabas Fund, the UK Home Office have just released figures on Syrian refugees resettled in the UK for the first quarter of this year (1 January–31 March 2018). Appalling as previous figures were, these are much worse.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recommended 1,358 Syrian refugees for resettlement in the UK of which only 4 were Christians, representing a tiny fraction of just 0.29%. No Yazidis at all were recommended by the UN.

The Home Office agreed to resettle 1,112 of these (82%), all of whom were Muslims, and refused all recommendations of Christians.

As Barnabas Fund recently reported, of the 7,060 Syrian refugees the UNHCR recommended to the UK in 2017 only 25 were Christians (0.35%). However, the Home Office only accepted 11 of these – meaning that Christians made up only 0.23% of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK last year.

For the last 18 months, Barnabas Fund has had to go to considerable lengths to obtain these figures in the face of what appeared to be a sustained attempt by Home Office officials to avoid their release. After prolonged delays, we finally had to take the extreme step of obtaining an order from the Information Commissioner’s Office threatening the Home Office with contempt of court proceedings in the High Court. Even subsequent to this action, the figures were only released just before the deadline, when we asked the immigration minister personally order their disclosure.

Barnabas Fund has helped Syrian Christian families who are unable to return home to resettle in Australia and other countries

Now that Home Office officials are finally complying with the Freedom of Information Act, by releasing the information as they are legally required to do, it is high time for the government to take action. The UK has a legal obligation to ensure it does not turn a blind eye to either direct or indirect discrimination by the UN.

It is widely accepted that Christians, who constituted around 10% of Syria’s pre-war population, were specifically targeted by jihadi rebels and continue to be at risk. Yet out of more than 1,000 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK this year there was not a single Christian. As last year’s statistics more than amply demonstrate, this is not a statistical blip. It shows a pattern of underrepresentation and significant prima facie evidence of discrimination that the government has a legal duty to take concrete steps to address.

The Trump administration targets Hamas

by Caroline Glick

 

Last week, President Donald Trump’s Middle East team signaled a shift in the administration’s policy for contending with Hamas-controlled Gaza — one no prior administration had the courage to make.

On July 19, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, his special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman published a joint op-ed in the Washington Post in which they made clear that they are walking away from their earlier efforts to rebuild Gaza’s economy as a means of advancing the prospects for a broader peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

(This columnist had argued for exactly that policy just two days before.)

Noting that the blame for Gaza’s humanitarian crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas regime, the three wrote:

International donors are conflicted: Should they try to help the people directly, at the certain risk of enriching terrorists, or withhold funding to Hamas and watch the people it is supposed to govern suffer? In the past, investments in badly needed infrastructure have been diverted for weapons and other malign uses, and even the projects that are built are often destroyed as a consequence of Hamas’ aggression. Until governance changes or Hamas recognizes the state of Israel, abides by previous diplomatic agreements and renounces violence, there is no good option.

Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman acknowledged as well that “the international community also bears some blame.”

“More countries want to simply talk and condemn than are willing to confront reality, propose realistic solutions and write meaningful checks,” they wrote.

The President’s Middle East policy team concluded by noting that the time has come for the international community to base its policy towards Gaza on reality rather than platitudes. In their words, Hamas is the root cause of the endless rounds of war with Israel and the suffering of the people in Gaza.

“Hamas leadership is holding the Palestinians of Gaza captive,” they explained.

“This problem must be recognized and resolved or we will witness yet another disastrous cycle [of war].”

The only inaccuracy in the Trump team’s analysis is their claim that so long as Hamas refuses to abandon its war against Israel, “there is no good option” for easing the suffering of the residents of Gaza and advancing the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

There is a very good option for achieving both objectives. And like the administration’s assessment of the true obstacle to peace, it is based on reality.

The way to accomplish both objectives is to advance along the trajectory of the work the Trump administration is already doing at the United Nations. That work was spelled out in a second op-ed that Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman co-authored with UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday at CNN.com.

In the second article, the four senior administration officials argued that due to the spotlight the Trump administration has shone on the UN’s institutional anti-Israel bias, the ground is beginning to shift at Turtle Bay.

Specifically, the four applauded a UN General Assembly vote last month on an American amendment to an anti-Israel resolution put forward by Tunisia. The U.S. amendment specifically singled Hamas out for condemnation for its responsibility in fomenting the past three months of violence along Gaza’s border with Israel. It was the first time that Hamas was specifically condemned in a General Assembly resolution. And more member nations voted for the U.S. amendment than against it.

Although the amendment was dropped for technical reasons, in their words, “For the first time in the United Nations, more nations than not acknowledged that peace between Israel and the Palestinian people must be built on a foundation of truth regarding Hamas. … And part of that reality is recognizing the primary responsibility Hamas bears in perpetuating the suffering of the people of Gaza.”

The four presented the vote tally as a “paradigm shift” in the way the UN treats Israel.

They may have overstated the vote’s significance. But it is certainly worth checking if there can be practical benefits to the incipient willingness of a significant number of member nations to revisit their automatic opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinians in their 70-year war to destroy Israel.

That brings us back to the Hamas terror regime and the humanitarian disaster it has caused in Gaza.

As Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman noted in their Post article, “Despite the billions of dollars invested for the benefit of Palestinians in Gaza over the past 70 years, 53 percent of the people there live below the poverty level, and the unemployment rate is a crippling 49 percent.”

According to the UN, Gaza’s total population is 1.9 million. Of those, 1.3 million Gazans, or 68 percent of the population, are registered as refugees with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency  (UNRWA), the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians.

In other words, nearly 70 percent of Gazans are effectively wards of the UN — just as much, if not more, than they are captives of Hamas.

UNRWA was founded in the wake of the pan-Arab invasion of Israel in 1948-49. Although it is presented as a refugee aid agency, UNRWA was set up to prevent the Arab refugees who left Israel during the course of that invasion from being resettled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN agency established to help refugees worldwide to be resettled in new lands.

UNRWA’s purpose, since its inception, has been to perpetuate the suffering of the Arabswho left Israel in 1948 and 1949 and their descendants. While the State Department is reportedly refusing to make public its determination that there are a mere 20,000 Arabs alive today who left Israel during that invasion, UNRWA today is responsible for supporting more than 5 million “Palestinian refugees.”

This is the case because for four generations, descendants of those that left Israel have been registered as UNRWA refugees. As such, they have been denied the rights granted to refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which relates to all refugees registered with the UNHCR. Those rights include the right to be granted asylum in a third country.

The first step to solving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – while weakening the Hamas terror regime – involves enabling UNRWA-registered refugees to receive the rights conferred on all refugees under the Refugee Convention. In other words, the Palestinians should be granted the right to be resettled and naturalized in third countries. According to the past decade of polling data, more than half of the population of Gaza wishes to emigrate. But due to UN discrimination against Palestinians, they are barred from doing so, and are doomed instead to hopeless lives as captives of Hamas.

While working to end the UN’s institutional discrimination against Palestinians, the administration should strongly encourage the Egyptian government to permit the UNRWA-registered refugees in Gaza to leave the region through the Gaza border with Egypt. The Egyptians and the administration should work with third countries to enable the Gazan emigrés to receive asylum, in accordance with the Refugee Convention.

By permitting the refugees of Gaza to resettle, the U.S. would advance the cause of peace and regional security in several ways.

First, it would right the historic wrong done to the people of Gaza, who have been denied the basic rights of all refugee groups.

Second, it would end the ongoing Palestinian delusion, propagated by Palestinian leaders and advanced by anti-Israel groups in the West, that these fifth-generation “refugees” will one day “return” to Israel and so destroy the Jewish state.

The centrality of the belief that Israel will be destroyed and overrun to Palestinian identity was demonstrated graphically at a rally in Gaza on July 12. At the event, which was televised on Qatar’s al Jazeera network, Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas apparatchik, told the crowd that by 2022, “the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews, and their uprooting from it,” would take place.

He added that “after the nation has been healed of its cancer – the Jews – Allah willing,” the “Caliphate will be established.”

As Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman noted, the largest obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to come to terms with the fact that Israel is a permanent reality. This delusion stands at the base of the Palestinians’ conviction that it is reasonable to dedicate their lives to working towards Israel’s destruction.

By enabling the Gazans who are registered as refugees with UNRWA to emigrate to third countries, the U.S. and its partners will end this delusion by providing the people of Gaza with an option for a better life.

Finally, by facilitating the emigration of Hamas’s captive population, the U.S. would vastly diminish Hamas’s capacity to threaten Israel and to use terror and violence against it.

Hamas’s most dangerous weapon in its war against Israel is not its arsenal of missiles, mortar,  and rockets. It isn’t its infrastructure of subterranean attack tunnels that traverse Gaza’s border with Israel. It isn’t its inventory of arson kites and balloons, which it has used in recent months to burn large swathes of southern Israel.

Hamas’s most dangerous, lethal weapon is its captive civilian population. It uses them as human shields.

Hamas launches missile strikes against Israel from schoolyards. It orders civilians to participate in mass demonstrations along the Gaza border with Israel.

Hamas terrorists use the civilians, particularly children, as shields behind which they launch assaults on Israel.

Hamas’s military headquarters are even located in Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

The exploitation and deliberate imperilment of civilians forms the foundation of all of Hamas’s terror operations.

By enabling Hamas’s captives to emigrate, the U.S. would degrade, if not destroy outright, Hamas’s most formidable weapon in its never-ending war against Israel.

The administration is to be congratulated for its determination to base its policies on reality. This alone distinguishes it from the past three administrations who preferred wishful thinking to fact.

Reality demonstrates that long-held convictions regarding the shape of future peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors were utterly unhinged. But it also opens new options for moving forward.

The most important of those options is to end five generations of UN discrimination against the Palestinians, and to permit them to emigrate and be granted citizenship in new lands, instead of being doomed to eternity as pawns in an endless war to annihilate Israel.

Why the concern for UNRWA?

by Caroline Glick

 

On Monday, seven former US ambassadors to the UN sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisting that the administration restore full funding to UNRWA, the UN agency that funds so-called Palestinian refugees.

Since UNRWA was established in 1949, the US has given nearly $5 billion to the agency tasked with perpetuating refugee status among descendants of Arabs who left Israel in the 1948-1949 pan-Arab invasion.

In January, then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson informed the UN that the US was slashing its assistance to UNRWA by 50%, from $260 million to $130 million.

At the time, citing UNRWA’s support for terrorism and economic corruption, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recommended ending US financial assistance for the agency outright.

The issue of UNRWA, and the US’s involvement with the group, hasn’t received much attention in the intervening months. But now that the former ambassadors have brought it up, it is worth taking a second look at UNRWA and considering whether they are right, and what their bipartisan position tells us about the bipartisan consensus that controlled US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians until President Donald Trump took office.

UNRWA and its supporters present the agency as an organization dedicated to supporting Palestinian refugees. But this is a lie.

UNRWA is a political warfare organization that deliberately perpetuates the misery of innocent people.

It indoctrinates them from the cradle to the grave to support and engage in terrorism and genocide against the Jewish state and its people. It exists not to help the descendants of Arabs who left Israel at its inception, it exists as a tool of political warfare in the never-ending war to annihilate the Jewish state. As then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser said in 1960, “If the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

UNRWA’s distinctively non-humanitarian purpose is baked in. Refugees worldwide are helped by the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR targets its services to real refugees – people who meet the definition of the Refugee Convention of having lost their state home due to persecution. UNRWA targets its services to people of Palestinian descent it calls “refugees” for political reasons; fewer than 1% of the UNRWA refugees would actually meet the Refugee Convention definition.

UNHCR finds refugees and gives them help; UNRWA finds people who need help and makes them refugees.

The UNHCR is responsible for helping refugees find asylum and settle in another country. Today it cares for nearly 66 million refugees worldwide. It has one staffer for every 6,000 refugees.

UNRWA, in contrast, is responsible for preventing Palestinian refugees from gaining asylum or resettling anywhere. It is responsible for 5.2 million refugees and has one staffer for every 186 refugees.

Over the past 70 years, UNHCR has permanently resettled tens of millions of refugees. It found permanent homes for 189,300 refugees in 2016 alone.

UNRWA has resettled no refugees in its 69-year history.

It is now responsible for the fifth generation of descendants of the Arabs who left Israel in 1948-49.

Every dollar the US transfers to UNRWA is a dollar used to perpetuate this misery. And it is arguably a dollar spent in breach of US law. According to the US Law on Derivative Refugee Status, spouses and children of refugees can apply for derivative status as refugees. Grandchildren are explicitly ineligible for that status. But by funding UNRWA, the US funds an agency that has required the perpetuation of refugee status of the Arab refugees from 1948-49 for five generations.

For years, then-US senator from Illinois Mark Kirk tried to compel the State Department to reveal how many Palestinian refugees actually left Israel during the pan-Arab invasion. Due to his efforts, in 2013, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved an amendment to the annual State Department foreign operations appropriations bill requiring the State Department to report how many of the 5 .2 million Palestinians on UNRWA’s rolls were actual refugees.

Rather than reveal the number, which is estimated to stand at 20,000, or 1% of the number UNRWA claims, the State Department classified the figure in 2015. It still refuses to release it.

Former president Barack Obama’s administration’s position was to accept UNRWA’s numbers as true. The Obama State Department insisted that any accounting for the actual number of refugees or attempt to remove the millions of “refugees” who have been Jordanian citizens for most of the past 70 years from its refugee rolls, would be detrimental for chances of peace.

That is, despite the fact that during the 2008 presidential race Obama said he did not support the Palestinian demand that UNRWA’s “refugees” be permitted to immigrate to Israel and, as Nasser said, cause Israel to “cease to exist,” his administration’s actual policy was to legitimize this position. By refusing to reveal how many Arabs who left their homes in Israel in the 1948-49 pan-Arab invasion of Israel receive support from UNRWA, Obama enabled the Palestinians to insist that more than 5.2 million people, all but 20,000 of whom have never stepped foot in Israel and have no ties to the country, should be permitted to enter Israel as citizens and so destroy the Jewish state.

UNRWA’s existential rejection of Israel’s right to exist is not the only reason it is a deeply problematic, indeed, toxic organization. On a daily basis, UNRWA personnel and facilities are used to advance the physical annihilation of Israel.

UNRWA schools and clinics in Gaza have been used repeatedly by Hamas to store missiles and rockets and to launch projectile attacks on Israel. Several of their employees are senior Hamas terrorists. In the past year and a half, two senior UNRWA employees in Gaza were elected to senior leadership positions in Hamas. Funding UNRWA funds Hamas.

As multiple researchers have copiously documented over decades, UNRWA schools indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate Israel and Jews and to seek their annihilation. UNRWA employees throughout the Middle East praise terrorists, praise Nazis, and call for the annihilation of the Jewish people. By funding UNRWA, the US pays their salaries.

This brings us to the seven US ambassadors and their letter to Pompeo.

Former UN ambassadors Thomas Pickering and Edward Perkins, who served under president George H.W. Bush; Madeline Albright and Bill Richardson, who served under president Bill Clinton; John Negroponte, who served under George W. Bush; and Samantha Power and Susan Rice who served under President Barack Obama, claimed in their letter that funding cuts “put into question the ability of UNRWA to continue to deliver education and healthcare services to millions of people.”

Oddly, they think this is a bad thing.

But it is a good thing.

Consider the case of Hamas terror master Suhail al-Hindi. Hindi was elected to a senior leadership position in the terror group in 2011 and reelected in 2017.

During this entire period, Hindi worked as principal of an UNRWA high school and chairman of the teachers’ union for UNRWA schools in Gaza.

UNRWA only fired him from his position as principal in 2017. For six years the agency ignored the problem hoping everyone would forget or not notice.

Why do the former ambassadors want US taxpayers to support a school system run by the likes of Hindi? Then there are the clinics they express such concern for.

During the course of Hamas’s 2014 war against Israel, on July 31, a team of commandos from the Maglan unit entered an UNRWA clinic in Khan Younis to seal an attack tunnel that was dug out from its floor.

Three soldiers, St.-Sgt. Matan Gotlieb, St.-Sgt. Omer Chai and St.-Sgt. Guy Algernaty, were killed when the clinic exploded on top of them. Twenty other soldiers were wounded in the blast.

The IDF discovered afterwards that Hamas-UNRWA constructed the clinic not only as the starting point of an attack tunnel, but as a booby trap. Twelve barrels, each containing 80 kg. of explosives were built into the walls.

Why do the ambassadors wish to build more UNRWA clinics? This then brings us to the question of the seven former envoys’ motivation in writing the letter in the first place. The seven wrote that ending US financial support for UNRWA will have “national security ramifications for our closest allies, including Israel and Jordan.”

This is true enough. But at least in Israel’s case, those ramifications would be positive. The less money UNRWA has, the less damage it can do to the Palestinians and to Israel. With less money, UNRWA can teach fewer Palestinians that they should strive to become suicide bombers. With less money, they can build fewer booby trapped clinics and fewer attack tunnels under the floors of their examination rooms.

With less money, UNRWA becomes a less attractive option for millions of Arabs for whom accepting cradle-to-grave welfare payments from UNRWA has substituted work as an economic model. “Employed” on the UNRWA dole, they have been able to take low paying jobs as terrorists.

Obviously, as former UN ambassadors, the seven signatories know all of this. So obviously, they weren’t motivated to write due to some sort of deep seated desire to improve the welfare of the Palestinians. They were also clearly not motivated by genuine concern for Israel’s security, much less for the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Indeed, given what we know – and what they know – about UNRWA, it is impossible to attribute any positive justification to their actions. Rather, the only logical explanation for their decision to sign and send the letter to Pompeo is that they want to perpetuate US assistance to UNRWA because they like what it does. They think it is a good idea to doom Palestinians to perpetual misery and ensure that they will never, ever accept Israel’s right to exist in secure borders unmolested by war and terrorism and demonization.

That is, like UNRWA, the seven former senior diplomats were motivated by rank hostility to Israel. This is remarkable.

Power, Rice, Pickering, Perkins, Albright, Richardson and Negroponte represent the top tier of Washington’s bipartisan foreign policy clique. Together, they have played key roles in shaping US policy towards Israel for 30 years. And they like UNRWA.

Pompeo should thank them for their letter. He should thank them for reminding him to reconsider the administration’s position on the UN agency. And then he should follow Haley’s advice from January and end all US funding to UNRWA.

Furthermore, Pompeo should declassify the data on the actual number of Palestinian refugees and he should call for their cases to be dealt with by the UNHCR, without prejudice. And then he should announce that out of concern for the welfare of the Palestinians and in the interests of peace and regional security in the Middle East, the US believes the time has come to shut UNRWA down completely.

Why Democrats are turning anti-Israel

by Caroline Glick

 

Since President Donald Trump entered the White House, hardly a day has gone by without Israel receiving a warning from a Democratic politician or a liberal American Jewish leader that it had better curb its enthusiasm and be reticent in its support for Trump and his policies.

The partisan split is clear. A Pew survey of American support for Israel in January noted a great and growing gap in partisan support for the Jewish state. 79 percent of Republicans support Israel against the Palestinians. Only 27 percent of Democrats do.

The latest warning came this week. Ambassador Dennis Ross, the former U.S. mediator for the peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the Jerusalem Post that Israel needs to watch out.

“Given the strong opposition by Democrats to Trump,” Ross warned, “Israel risks getting caught up in that conflict,” he told the Post.

“There will be a post-Trump U.S. … Israel risks a backlash because the Trump administration has caused such deep alienation among Democrats, so it’s very important that there is outreach by Israel to Democrats.”

Ross also had advice for what Israelis should talk about when they talk to Americans. Israelis, he said, should avoid talking about shared values and visions of the world. Instead, they should focus their discussions with Americans on both sides of the aisle on security issues and regional Middle East topics.

Ross’s warning that Israelis should avoid speaking to Americans about shared values points to the core of Israel’s problem with Democrats — and, increasingly, with the American Jewish community which splits two-to-one in support for Democrats over Republicans.

For the better part of the history of U.S.-Israel relations, the main source of U.S. support for Israel was not shared security interests — although those shared interests are legion, and have ensured that ties between the countries have always been intense and largely cooperative.

The basic affinity between Americans and Israelis that informed their joint interests has always been our shared values. More precisely, Zionism — that is, Jewish nationalism — and American nationalism share basic features that draw them together.

Both Israel and the U.S. are states based on ideals and ideas rooted in the Bible. Jewish identity and attachment to the land of Israel, like Jewish survival through two thousand years of exile and homelessness, owe entirely to the faithfulness of Jewish people scattered throughout the world to the laws of Moses and to their national identity as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This enduring attachment to Jewish law and heritage, and to national identity, is what brought millions of Jews to settle in the land of Israel both before and after the State of Israel was founded 70 years ago.

The Jews who have come to Israel from the four corners of the globe were not entering a foreign land as economic migrants. They were exiles returning home. Israel is not a nation of immigrants so much as a state populated by ingathered Jewish exiles.

Likewise, as Michael Anton wrote this week, contrary to the pro-open borders position, the U.S. is not a nation of immigrants. It is a nation built by settlers.

Anton defines a settler as someone who “builds ex nihilo and must form the initial social compact,” of a society.

Anton’s definition isn’t precise, at least in the case of the early settlers in the British colonies. The social compact they forged, which was later revised in the form of the U.S. Constitution, was not built from nothing. It was founded on the Bible. The Biblical laws and narratives formed the basis of enlightenment concepts like limited government, individual liberty, and freedom of religion, which in turn formed the basis of the American social compact.

Anton argued that an immigrant, in general, is not a free-floating individual who happens to fall where he falls. Rather, an immigrant is someone who “seeks to join a society already built, to join a compact already made.”

In the case of the United States, the compact that centuries of immigrants joined was anchored in the Constitution and the philosophical and religious positions that inform it. The civic religion that emerged in the U.S. was inclusive to those who accepted its basic values and principles.

Given that the social compacts of both Israel and the U.S. were forged by settlers informed by the Bible, it is little wonder that the two nations have always had a natural affinity for one another.

Which brings us back to Ross’s warning.

The problem that Israel now faces with the Democrats is that whereas Israelis have by and large remained faithful to their identity — and consequently, their nationalism, or Zionism — Democrats are increasingly becoming post-nationalist.

The distinction between nationalist and post-nationalist is not a mere policy preference. It is a far more fundamental shift in values.

Consider the situation along Israel’s border with Syria.

For the past two weeks, as the Russian-Syrian-Iranian advance against rebel-held southwestern Syria has proceeded, some 270,000 Syrians have fled their homes in Deraa and Quneitra provinces. While the bulk of the displaced have fled to the Syrian-Jordanian border, several thousand have situated themselves along Syria’s border with Israel.

In Israel, there is all but consensual support for the government’s position, stated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. Netanyahu said, “Regarding southern Syria, we will continue to defend our borders. We will extend humanitarian assistance to the extent of our abilities. We will not allow entry into our territory.”

That is, Israelis are committed to being good neighbors to the Syrians.

Despite the formal state of war between the two countries, and the fact that almost all of the warring factions share a basic commitment to Israel’s annihilation, Israelis are happy to provide medical assistance to the wounded, and humanitarian assistance to the refugees on the border. But they are not prepared to grant asylum to anyone. This position is shared by all political parties across the right-left divide, except for the post-Zionist (or post-nationalist) party Meretz.

Meretz, which represents some 4 percent of the electorate, opposes the very notion of Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. It believes that Israel should open its doors – as a Jewish state – to refugees and others, including illegal economic migrants from Africa.

Meretz’s leader, Tamar Zandberg, knows that her party has no significant support domestically. And so she has focused a great deal of effort on building strong ties to Democrats and to progressive, anti-nationalist American Jewish groups to increase her party’s power and leverage in Israel.

Zandberg recognizes that her position, while marginal in Israel, is the dominant position in the American left generally and in the Democratic Party specifically. It is also an increasingly popular position in the American Jewish community.

Ambassador Ross was in Israel this week to attend the presentation of the Jewish People Policy Institute’s 2018 annual report. He serves as co-chairman of the institute’s board of directors. The report emphasized the importance of preserving the triangular relationship between Israel, American Jewry, and Washington.

The problem is that over the past twenty years or so, the American left has undergone a profound shift in values, from liberal nationalism to radical post-nationalism. This process, facilitated and accelerated during Barack Obama’s presidency, and expressed most emblematically in Democratic support for open borders, has made post-nationalism the sine qua non of the Democrats since Trump’s electoral triumph in 2016.

Israel’s relations with the American left, then, are a collateral victim of a wider shift in American society. Jewish nationalism, with its inherent affinity to American nationalism, was once the basis of Israel’s relationship with the American people as a whole. But now nationalism is the main cause of the Democrats’ increasingly fraught and antagonistic relationship with the Jewish state, while remaining the foundation of ever increasing levels of Republican affinity and support for Israel.

Perhaps Israel will be able to heed Ross’s advice, at least in terms of the Democrats. Perhaps it will be able to develop a common language with the U.S. based on shared interests. There are certainly a number of steps Israel can take to advance that goal.

But the fact is that the Democrats’ shift in values from nationalist to post-nationalist, rather than any action Israel has taken in its domestic or foreign policy, is what has caused the rupture in Israel’s ties to the American left.

So long as Meretz remains a marginal force in Israeli society on the one hand, and post-nationalist forces continue to rise in the Democratic party on the other, bipartisan support for Israel, like bipartisan support for American nationalism, will remain a thing of the past.

Another Conservative Voice Silenced On YouTube

BY JNS.ORG

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A MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) TV clip posted on April 24, 2018 on the MEMRI TV YouTube channel translated and exposed anti-Semitic statements by Gaza religious scholar Khaled Hany Morshid.
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The MEMRI TV clip shows Morshid at the Gaza “Return March” stating in a religious lecture that “one of the greatest duties… and best forms of worship… is to fight those Jews.”
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He goes on to state that in order to stop the Jews, the “sword of jihad for the sake of Allah is brandished and they are made an example of,” and adds: “I call upon every Muslim: Do not stand idly by and let those Jews spread corruption… You must carry out glorious deeds against them.”
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The same day, YouTube removed this MEMRI TV clip from the channel, with the message: “Video Removed: Inappropriate content.”
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YouTube also posted on the page a notification explaining that the video had been “flagged for review” – that is, by YouTube users – and that YouTube had subsequently “determined that it violates our guidelines.”
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It added, “We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account” and warned: “If you receive three or more of one of the types of strikes listed above, we may have to disable your account.”
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MEMRI appealed YouTube’s decision to remove the clip, explaining that it is an educational resource and part of the research of the MEMRI Lantos Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial archives, which exposes anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world and provides informational infrastructure for policies and strategies to counter anti-Semitism.
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This appeal was rejected by YouTube, which stated: “After further review of the content, we’ve determined that your video does violate our Community Guidelines and have upheld our original decision.”
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It should be noted that at the end of every MEMRI TV clip it is stated: “MEMRI is a non-partisan, independent research institute providing research, analysis, and translation of primary materials covering a wide range of issues, including terrorism and ideological  trends in the Middle East.
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These video clips are provided as a public service to an international viewing audience to bridge the language gap and better educate and inform. Material about statements by terrorists and extremists is provide to alert the public to threats, and in no way constitutes an endorsement of such activities.”
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MEMRI’s previous YouTube channel, which had more than 60,000 subscribers and hundreds of millions of views, was terminated in July 2016; despite MEMRI’s numerous appeals for information to resolve the outstanding issues and to regain access to the account, we were never successful in doing so.
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An article published March 2, 2017  by Tablet magazine, “Why Is YouTube Punishing People Who Translate and Expose Anti-Semitism on Its Platform?” highlighted the termination of our YouTube account. It stated: “For years, YouTube has been taking down videos that translate and expose anti-Semitism and punishing those who post them. Perhaps the most notable victim of this censorship is MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.”
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The article went on to describe the importance of MEMRI’s work, saying: “MEMRI translates television and media from across the Middle East, highlighting both bigotry and those activists who seek to fight it.” It also explains YouTube’s flagging system and how an account can be terminated like MEMRI’s was: “YouTube’s system for identifying problematic content relies on users flagging and reporting allegedly objectionable videos.
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Site staff then sort through the reports and remove content at their discretion. Unfortunately, this process is easily gamed by those bigots and their sympathizers who don’t want MEMRI’s material out there.”
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MEMRI Calls On YouTube To Rescind Wrongly Applied “Strike” Against Channel
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MEMRI is the only organization in the world that comprehensively monitors anti-Semitism in the print and broadcast media, education systems and schoolbooks, and Friday sermons in mosques in the Arab and Muslim world, and produces hundreds of reports and videos on the material it has found.
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MEMRI’s Lantos Archives on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial are the largest archives in the world of translated Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Urdu/Pashtu material on anti-Semitism from the past two decades.
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It should be noted that in the past, MEMRI has met with YouTube to discuss the issue of jihadi and anti-Semitic content on the platform.
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MEMRI has done extensive research on this subject, including how YouTube allows U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, among them Hamas and Hezbollah, to maintain multiple accounts – thus violating YouTube’s own Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.

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Lets pray the present US administration deals with their arrogance.

Bill Gates Backs Plan To Live Stream Entire Earth With Big Brother Satellites

BY PNW STAFF

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Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, has announced plans to invest in a start-up that is going to provide HD live streaming services of the entire Earth. The start-up in question, EarthNow, plans to do this by launching as many as 500 satellites to record every part of the globe.
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Gates is not the only heavyweight to back these plans. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, and aircraft maker Airbus are also involved. That gives this project a lot of legitimacy and increases the chances of it being completed successfully.
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Experts estimate that this project will cost around $1 billion, but the actual amount these individuals and companies have contributed so far remains undisclosed. This estimate is based largely on the costs of building and launching the 500 satellites, as well as the various permits and licenses involved.
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The stated applications for this satellite network include tracking illegal fishing, weather forecasts, as well as keeping track of natural migrations. The live stream will be available to individuals on their phones, as well as scientists. However, the services of EarthNow will be initially available only to large companies and governments.
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Though the stated purpose for this project is without a doubt noble, many groups and individuals have raised serious privacy concerns in the wake of these announcements. The main question about this project is what the satellites will actually be able to see, and how far they will be able to zoom.
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Right now, it doesn’t seem as though individual privacy is in danger from this project. The cameras mounted on these satellites would likely not be able to monitor individual activity on the ground. However, there are even more important concerns than your individual privacy.
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Namely, these satellites could be able to see into military bases and other classified sites. It is worth remembering that this satellite network will be in the hands of a private corporation, which is not accountable to the public. They could misuse the network to spy on governments or the business operations of their competitors.
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That is why the EarthNow project is being likened to George Orwell’s Big Brother, constantly watching over you; ever-present but invisible. The leaders and backers of this project may say that it is for scientific purposes only and that it won’t be able to monitor individuals, but who is to say that their technology won’t improve to the point that they will be able to track you?
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The reader may be reminded of the government surveillance scandal revealed by WikiLeaks some years ago. However, this project has the potential to be even more invasive and problematic. EarthNow is a private company, controlled by its shareholders, which now include Bill Gates and Masayoshi Son.
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Inasmuch as this will be a truly global company, it would be hard for any government to rein it in on its own. There would have to be a broad agreement among various countries in order to regulate such a company.

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Even more importantly, U.S. adversaries, Russia and China will likely see this as a provocation, which could induce them to collaborate on their own satellite surveillance project, in order to get access to information on U.S. bases and operations.
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All in all, even though this project may seem innocuous and even noble, it sets a dangerous precedent in both international and domestic affairs. Private companies should not be given the right to watch over us without any sort of oversight by the people. This message needs to be hammered home at every turn until our representatives finally do something about it.